Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Maelstrom

By Stuart Lowe on

I arrived at Bodø in the early hours. Thankfully the ferry terminal had an indoor waiting area. I pushed together three chairs and tried to sleep. I woke around 9am and headed for the bike shop. It wasn't yet officially open but the mechanic, who didn't speak English, got to work on my bike and sorted out the gears for me. I'd now have the full 24 instead of 12 and wouldn't be hurting my thumb.

With my bike back to tip top condition, I went into town. The tourist map advertised a pizza restaurant with an all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet lunch for 129 krones. Perfect. I spent a couple of hours eating.

Finally, in the early afternoon I was off. Bodø has a pretty good bike lane out of the city. By mid afternoon I reached Saltstramun where there is a "malstrøm" caused by the tidal water flowing through a narrow channel. It was clearly a popular tourist attraction and it seems there are power boat trips into the whirlpools.

After a waffle and cocoa (I'm pushing the boat out today), I was back into the ups and downs of the fjord edges. I feel as though most of Norway exists in the narrow (but long) patch of land between the sea and the mountains. With sea levels rising, I wonder what fraction of the population will have to move upwards.

I still needed to get my 80 km done for the day. At 70 km I was nearly calling it a day but persisted onwards. Then the rain set in. There was nowhere appropriate to stop for the night. Everything was too steep, too bumpy, or right on the edge of a cliff. I pushed on through a tunnel. That gave me a break from the rain.

Out through another tunnel I suddenly halted as I noticed a big waterfall falling away to the right. Another cyclist, a Frenchman, had also stopped here to take a photo. I decided I would camp up stream a little but the French cyclist was heading back down to fjord-level to camp. He was tired of the coastal weather and had seen enough mountains. He said he might go into Sweden for a break. He sped off down the hill whilst I pitched my tent in the rain. At least the rain kept the mosquitos at bay. I slept to the sound of the river below me.